Monday, July 16, 2012

Venus Transit

What’s Wrong With This Picture? 
On June 5, 2012, there was a rare solar event, a Venus transit following the Sunday May 20, 2012, annular Solar Eclipse.
A few evenings before the event, as I went out for a late night meal I noticed a man in the park. I didn’t give it much concern; it’s a popular place after the heat of the day. When I returned, I noticed the same vehicle at the curb. Only then could I make out that the man was an astronomer and had a telescope aimed at the heavens.
Chris Cole of Raleigh, North Carolina, took the above photograph. I present it exactly as he provided it, after he sharpened and color corrected it in Photoshop.
He traveled to Albuquerque in his Honda Civic to observe and record the six-hour transit of Venus.
While the earlier annular solar eclipse brought about a hundred viewers to the park, only a dozen or so people, most of them taking their daily walks, approached Coles’ telescope equipment out of curiosity.
Cole patiently explained the nature of Venus crossing the Sun and welcomed people to look at the cameras screen’s image through the telescope.
My neighbor, Vanessa and her daughter Eleanor came to the park with their solar eclipse viewing sunglasses, left over from the earlier event.
Eleanor offered to share her sunglasses with a passer by, who was walking his dog, so he could have a good look.
Cole, using a specially modified Canon EOS Rebel digital T3i camera automatically made an exposure every five seconds. He had to continuously adjust the telescope to follow the movement of the sun.
Cole produced a documentary, Venus Transit 2012: My fill of ambrosia
So what’s wrong with this picture?
For all the people he thanked and telescope equipment he praised, he left his biggest thanks to the weather.
However, what he thought was an exceptionally clear sky was not, due to numerous wildfires raging through out the state, the skies, were noticeably filled with smoke. Cole just didn’t know the difference.